Dunces with dollars

Saturday 6 March 2004

The organisation that regulates Britain's personal investment industry is increasingly alarmed by many investors' financial ignorance.

By The Landlord

The Financial Services Authority says understanding is being held back "by the very low basic skill levels in numeracy and literacy of many adults".

A survey published in November found that nearly seven million adults (21 per cent of the adult population) had numeracy skills at "entry level 2 or below" - lower than expected of 11-year-olds.

Examples of financial literacy skills include understanding monetary values presented in different formats, and making value-for-money judgments of different products, which may involve comparing percentages and understanding graphs.

The survey assessed skills across a range of topics. The "entry level 2 or below" group did best on questions about money, but only half the group answered questions about charts and tables correctly and only a fifth got the right answers to questions about fractions, proportions and percentages.

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